WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Gebisa Ejeta, the 2009 World Food Prize laureate from Purdue University, stresses the importance of stewardship and education to keep agriculture moving forward in today’s world.
“Sustainability is an important agenda because we have to pay attention to meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of the future,” Ejeta said.
“It has everything to do with the stewardship of our natural resources, while at the same time effectively using those resources to meet the food and fiber needs of today’s population.”
He also said sustainability and stewardship should remain on the minds of American farmers and agribusiness professionals.
“I think it’s very important for American farmers and American industry to be concerned about sustainability,” Ejeta said.
“American agriculture has been very productive and, to some extent, that productivity may have brought about some neglect of our natural resources because of the overuse of inputs that have made agriculture so productive.”
But the Purdue agronomist added he believes the American ingenuity and technology can lead to the continuation of producing enough food for the current population.
Ejeta said he has been impressed by the advancements that farmers and researchers already have made, especially with conservation contributions.
Ejeta believes that the American agriculture industry needs to have an open dialogue with consumers about what the industry is doing and where food comes from.
“The risk is that, because of the efficiency and productivity level of modern agriculture, the current generation of Americans, and I’m afraid future generations, may forget where plants and animals are produced,” he said.
“They may forget that these products are produced on farms, and there may be a tendency to believe they come out of groceries and places like that.”
The continuing education of the agriculture process is important to the younger generation to know the process and consequences of using the natural resources in the world, Ejeta added.
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